Friday, February 20, 2015

Movie review - "The Honeymoon Machine" (1961) ***

Steve McQueen became known for playing Mr Cool but he's a lot of fun - if admittedly not entirely comfortably cast - in this breezy service comedy, an enormously popular genre in the1950s (when the great bulk of the male population had spent time in uniform) which faded out in the 1960s.

It helps that this has a decent plot, based on a play by Lorenzo Semple Jnr - McQueen and some mates (Jim Hutton, Jack Mullaley) pinch a top navy computer in order to help them win at the casino. While there McQueen romances Brigid Bazlen (not a familiar face - she was Salome in King of Kings - but bright and pretty), who is the daughter of admiral Dean Jagger; Hutton hooks up with his ex, Paula Prentiss, and they all set out to make a lot of money.

I wish they'd given Mullaley a girl to have a romance with and our lead characters are far too massive at the end - I also didn't like how Bazlen gott McQueen out of trouble simply by saying "I love him", and I wish more had been done with the Russians. But it's energetic and colourful, Jagger is a strong antagonist and I loved the camaraderie that exists between the four leads. Prentiss is a stand out as the short sighted heiress determined to nab Hutton come what may (she reminded me of Alison Janney) - they do steal the film from McQueen and Bazlen, but those two are no slouches either.


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